Australia’s first water leak detection dog, Kep, celebrated her fourth birthday on Thursday by eating cake at State Parliament House with her handler Andrew Blair and Water Minister Dave Kelly.
Working in rural and remote areas, the English springer spaniel was trained since birth to sniff out underground leaks from pipelines which can be more than a metre deep.
Kep’s keen sense of smell has helped discover 36 hidden leaks across regional Western Australia since joining the Water Corporation in 2018, as part of the Water Corporation’s non-visible leak detection program.
Along with Andrew, Kep has surveyed 903km of water mains and discovered 92 hidden leaks, saving an estimated 880 million litres of water.
In the Great Southern, Kep has found 27 leaks, saving an estimated 128 million litres of water, which is equivalent to nearly 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools
Kep and Andrew mainly work in the upper Great Southern region in the warmer months of September through to April and have more recently worked in farmland areas around Narrogin, Brookton, Darkan, Wickepin, Williams and Yealering.
Mr Kelly said leaks are a reality faced by water utilities around the world.
“For Water Corporation, the challenge is all the more important given there are nearly 35,000km of water mains in Western Australia – enough to stretch across the country eight and a half times.
“It’s incredible that Kep can sniff out a water leak buried deep underground and help save our precious water supplies.
“On behalf of the State Government, I’d like to acknowledge Kep’s great work and wish her a very happy birthday.”